k, it was time to pull my shopping happy head
out of the sand, and make the list I have been dreading – pulling together a list of our current debts (specifically credit card)!
As long as I could make all the monthly minimums (sometimes even a little extra), I never felt the need to add them all up. Hence, the November disaster of 2015! We learned in this week’s scripture readings that debt has some stinky consequences (enslaves us*, for one) and that it is NOT what God wants for us (OWE Nothing – Romans 13:8). As I sheepishly listed credit card balance after credit card balance, I was amazed at how far into the sand I had placed my head.
*Let me just quickly add here – that the Lord made sure I understood this concept first hand this week as I was faced for a few decisions that required me to consider the motives behind why I was or wasn’t accepting an invitation. It amazed me how many times I have decided not on what I felt I was being called to but what would bring in some type of payment – I have been totally enslaved and I LONG to be free to follow where the SPIRIT guides and not where my creditors require!
I have said it before, spending money is one of my drugs of choice. I know it has addictive qualities by my reaction to when I am in the midst of the behavior (shopping elation is totally a thing) and how I feel as we discuss things such as … read more
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Alms-giving or Charity – sometimes it is difficult to decide how one can increase what they give during Lent, especially if you are already generous the rest of the year.
Here are some thoughts I’ve had — would LOVE to hear yours:
- Tithe your prayers. I can get REAL self absorbed during prayer time with a lot of my family needs that, O Lord bring me this. So I am making a more concerted effort during Lent to pray for others.
- Giving more of our talent. So my wallet may be stretched but that doesn’t mean I have exhausted all I have to give. I’m trying to find ways to use my gifts to serve the Church and others during Lent.
- And then there is actual money … for more idea please visit Reconciled To You
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Our money problems did not start overnight. They built overtime. Every decision held a consequence, yet we were blissfully unaware as we spent and then after the debt had built, we continued to be blissfully unwilling to change – and consciously choose to ignore it (Problem #1).
To figure out where we are going, first we need to look at how we got here.
Kevin and I met when we were in high school and began dating his freshmen year in college (my junior year of high school). We were married 5 years later, while I was still in college. We were 21 and 23, and absolutely clueless on how to manage finances (Problem #2). I had embraced the 1980’s with great zeal — amassing over 15 credit cards (mostly of the store variety) by time I was 20 years old (Problem #3). Kevin was unaware of most of them (Problem #4). We were both hard workers but underemployed (Problem #5).
So what now? Where do we start to reclaim our lives? First, we need to rediscover God’s role in our finances … read more
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Throughout history, and even now in agricultural, third-world cultures, extended families are the norm. Secondary attachments in such families enrich the lives of children. As the African proverb reminds first-world countries, “It takes a community to raise a child.”
Unfortunately, secular society seems to believe that nuclear families should raise their children independently, even when both parents work full-time and have afterschool activities to manage. Conditioned in this way, families in need of help may hesitate to ask for it from anyone. But grandparents have a wonderful way of establishing consistency in the lives of their grandchildren. They provide a sense of security, particularly for children whose parents are separated, live in poverty, have mental health issues, or struggle with addictions. Although articles on attachment parenting seem to address ideal families, I have witnessed families striving to maintain an image of perfection, eventually falling apart behind closed doors under the pressures of modern-day stress. It was grandparents who saw behind the masks. continue reading
………..link to Tender Tidings
, a free Catholic parenting magazine
The Gift of Suffering
Surprisingly, one of the keys to the longevity of our marriage is suffering.
Suffering was a gift which unified us because it stripped away false pride and forced us to our knees in prayer. Honest prayer led both of us to self-knowledge, humility and compassion for each other.
When I asked a priest what my life would have been like if I had not suffered, if I had married a well-off dentist, had 1.25 kids and lived in an efficient, modern house, he put on a phony, pious face, put his hands together in prayer, and said in a high, mocking voice,
”Oh, you would be a nice Christian lady, praising the Lord.”
What he meant by that amusing bit of acting was I would be shallow, without depth and strength. Well, when I see the results of a bit of suffering in our marriage, I say bring it on.
I raised my nine children in the shadow of other dedicated Catholic mothers, mostly homeschoolers, who thought Halloween was evil, dedicated to witches. Their children were not allowed to celebrate with their neighbors but went to a church basement to celebrate All Saints Eve.
This church was an hour away from us. More importantly, I felt my children suffered enough because of a perceived alienation from their peers. At our tiny Catholic, country school everyone dressed up for the day and often joined friends afterward to go door to door. I did not want to deny them the joy and creative fun which surrounded this cultural, childhood tradition.
Before I had the courage to let go of my whole way of living, two inner images rose up in my mind as symbols of my controlling behaviour.
I removed all religious comments from this article, to post it on a secular site and I have decided to leave it this way. The churched reader will know all the biblical references and the unchurched and seeker will not be overwhelmed with Catholic lingo.
When my family was still young and I had only seven children from twelve-years-old down to a newborn, I earnestly strove to raise the best children I could. Yet all my effort was actually hindering their development because my anxiety and control acted like a barrier, a prison around my them. I was, in fact, preventing my children’s inner, natural development into well-balanced, creative people.
Money might have been tight in our large family and life a bit messy, but our lives were filled with activity and fun because animals were part of our lives. Animals helped transform us into a playful and joyful family who sensed the Love of God in, with and through our pets.
Funny things happen when you decide to step out of your comfort zone and do something you might never think you would do. After attending the initial meeting for our September Papal visit, I was so full of hope and overwhelmed with the knowledge of how many people would travel to Philadelphia to see the Holy Father.
It gives me cause to pause and ponder the political and spiritual implications. I think about the state of our country, from our idealization of Bruce Jenner to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage and the Planned Parenthood scandal. I wonder why our Holy Father would want to visit this land. Continue Reading
I have been mad all day! I am short with my husband and my children. I can’t even stand to be around me!! I can’t get the dream out of my head and its self revelations. Images of the same pattern of behavior plaque me. Am I really that dense, that I cannot read a situation and choose a different path. Oh I think I will recognize the pattern and be able to handle it, that I am doing things differently THEN bam it’s just a different road to the same end.
My problem or weakness is that I allow others to have power over me. I don’t consciously give it to them, I just make little self-sacrifices to accommodate their need or help out in some small way only to realize that my kindness, compliance, and understanding have been mistaken for weakness. Continue Reading